MINNEDOSA — In the 1960s, motorcycle riders in England would buy Nortons or Triumphs from their local dealer, and strip them down and tune them for speed and performance.
In order to win the bragging rights as to whose bike was the fastest, they would challenge each other to a race. The person who reached the next pub or café first would be the winner — and the era of the "Café Racer" was born.
Students at Tanner’s Crossing School in Minnedosa have been creating their own Café Racer as a part of an after-school program over the past two school years.
Under the supervision of school principal James Sheppard, the kids have taken a 1975 Yamaha XS650 (originally purchased for $500), and have rebuilt and restored it in the theme of a ’60s machine. Space was utilized at nearby Minnedosa Collegiate, in the power mechanics program.
The project would not have been feasible without the support of the Minnedosa Foundation, and Westman businesses Cycleboyz, Celtic Machining, and TransCanada Motorsports who all provided assistance.
PowderFX Custom Coatings in Winnipeg, as well as other companies in Ontario, Florida, Callifornia, and North Carolina donated necessary parts and service.
"As soon as I told these businesses that students were involved, the companies all stepped in and didn’t charge us a thing, often throwing in shipping costs as well," Sheppard said.
M&M Autobody in Minnedosa completed the project with a beautiful metallic grey paint job with silver racing stripes.
The Café Racer is an attractive project in that the standard motorcycles themselves can be purchased relatively cheaply.
The customization involves removing a lot of heavy original parts, and stripping the machine down to the bare minimum to be street legal. The TCS Café project has all the necessary equipment to make it legal for street use, but with lighter weight for better handling, and stronger brakes for improved safety.
Now complete, the motorcycle will be raffled off in order to cover costs, as well as earn money for the next project. Only 500 tickets will be sold, at $10 each.
Contact James Sheppard at Tanner’s Crossing School to purchase tickets at 204-867-2591.